I, with everyone else in the world I suppose, sometimes imagine what life would be like if things had turned out differently. What would have happened if my mother hadn't pulled me out of public school to homeschool? What would have happened if she hadn't been diagnosed with a rare, terminal illness? What if...What if...A million questions always running through my mind all the time. The thing is, I know what would have happened.
I would still be a Christian.
I would still be close-minded.
I would most definitely still be a bitch.
I would have never realized that I was gay.
Therefore, I would have never come out.
Living in conservative Virginia leads to a sort of sheltered existence, where one is vaguely aware of the 'outside world' but doesn't really inhabit it. I was ten when I discovered what the word 'gay' meant. The idea rolled around in my head, but I adamantly refused to believe it had anything to do with me. I just had a "different" sort of interest in boys. There is a distinct memory within me of my mother telling me that I would know if I liked a boy if I got butterflies in my stomach whenever they passed by. I tried and tried and tried to work up these sorts of feelings around the boys I was expected to be attracted to, but...nothing.
Some people, coming across those who came out only as adults, often ask how could the late-bloomers not know that something was different about them? How could they not feel the attraction to what was in essence, the wrong sex? The answer is, we knew, but when you're only taught that what you feel in the depths of your mind and soul is a sin, and never taught what love really feels like, you just chalk it up to youthful curiosity and ignore the questions tugging at you. You try to go on with your life without having the answers you need to actually live your life. You date the opposite sex because, that's what you're supposed to do, isn't it?
My coming out story isn't a single, focal point in my life. It wasn't a big gay parade where I shouted to the heavens and the conservatives that I'm a queer and I'm proud. My coming out is the every day victories of having the courage to say to someone, "Yeah, I'm gay." My coming out is not letting people define me by my sexuality, it's letting my coming out be as simple as commenting on the weather. And hopefully, soon enough, that's what it will be.